Lina Perkins Wilder

Lina Perkins Wilder

Professor of English

Joined Connecticut College: 2006

B.A., University of Rochester
B.M., Eastman School of Music
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale University



Renaissance literature

Performance studies

Lina Perkins Wilder teaches courses in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature. Her courses include Essentials of Literary Study; Happy Endings: Shakespeare’s Comedies; Speaking What We Feel: Shakespeare’s Tragedies and Histories; Archive Fever; Pain and Violence in Renaissance Drama; Jews and Moors in Renaissance Drama; Milton; Donne, Herbert, Marvell; Shakespeare in Performance; Sickness and Health in Renaissance Literature; and English Shakespeare’s Brain, Shakespeare’s Body.

Dr. Wilder’s research addresses memory, theater, and performance in Renaissance England. Her book, "Shakespeare’s Memory Theatre: Recollection, Properties, and Character" (Cambridge University Press, 2010), explores stage props ranging from Yorick’s skull to Desdemona’s handkerchief. These mnemonic objects help audiences recall, or imagine, staged and unstaged pasts. This study reinterprets the “places” and “objects” used in Renaissance mnemonic training (the “memory arts”) as a conceptual model for theatrical performance. While the memory arts demand a mental and physical discipline which is understood as masculine, recollection in Shakespeare’s plays exploits the distrusted physicality of women and clowns. Combining materialist, historicist, and cognitive approaches, Dr. Wilder establishes the importance of recollection for understanding the structure of Shakespeare’s plays and the social work done by performance in Renaissance London.

Other recent publications include “‘My Exion Is Entered’: Costume, Anatomy, and Theatrical Knowledge in 2 Henry IV,” published in Renaissance Drama; and an essay on shorthand characters and the preservation topos in Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Dr. Wilder’s current book project, Recording Technologies in Renaissance England, surveys Renaissance recording technologies and techniques, such as shorthand writing and wax-infused capillaries and organs from human and animal cadavers, and places these cultural artifacts in the context of images of keeping and losing in poetry, drama, and prose.

Visit the English department website.

Majoring in English.

The first time I read a play by Shakespeare, I was twelve and had a bad case of the flu. I’m convinced that this was the best possible introduction to a writer — and a historical period — whose difficulty is often downplayed by adherents of the Shakespeare-is-universal school of thought. Mildly delirious with a fever of 103, I wasn’t bothered by the fact that I couldn’t understand what half the characters were saying. I simply let the language carry me. It was a perfect reading experience, entirely free and entirely strange. I try to recapture my twelve-year-old giddiness in my classroom and my own reading and writing.

Lina Wilder

Contact Lina Perkins Wilder

Mailing Address

Lina Perkins Wilder
Connecticut College
Box # ENGLISH/Blaustein Humanities Center
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320


315 Blaustein Humanities Center